My Last Duchess

850 Words4 Pages
Robert Browning 's poem "My Last Duchess" portrays a Duke 's emotional state toward his late wife. The Duke expresses his feelings to her realistic painting on the wall. In doing so, this allows enough of her essence and charisma to invoke an emotional response within the speaker. Likewise, the Duke 's response to the painting reveals his feelings toward his wife as well as his own character. The opening lines of the poem, “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, looking as if she were alive.” (Browning 695) enables the poem to becomes a very dramatic monologue. This macabre poem, is based on the true-life accounts of Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, whose first wife died in 1561 of a suspected poisoning. Browning was rather purposeful in…show more content…
Moreover, “My Last Duchess” is filled with imagery. The Duke uses vivid expressions to capture the attractiveness of the picture. According to the poem, the Duke equates the Duchess’ disposition to the vivid objects of cherries and a white mood to define her contentment. The vivacious colors that the Duke used and the explanation on the Duchess’s smile revealed that the Duke’s last Duchess was a beautiful and joyful woman with whom the Duke did not have control over. In the poem it states, “Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt Whene 'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile?” This line suggests that the Duchess’s was a wolf in sheep’s clothing for the Duke. He adored her smile, however, he felt bitter about the Duchess’s smile towards other men. Her smile and his suspiciousness and wrath eventually led the Duke to kill…show more content…
Imagery can be found in the poem which gives the impression that the Duke felt a desire to have utter control over his wife. We find this in the first line, “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,” (line 1) in that he chose to have her immortalized in designated place, rather than as a framed portrait which can be moved from one place to another. Additionally, we find imagery with the curtain that cover the painting. It is clear for the reader to assume that the Duke is holding onto bitterness toward his late wife’s heart which was “- too soon made glad, /Too easily impressed;” (lines 22 – 23) when it is discovered that only he controls who views the portrait– “But to myself they turned (since none puts by/The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)” (lines 9 –
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